Japan revises guidelines for child support payments

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A Supreme Court institution has released a revised version of its guidelines for determining the value of child support which is widely used in divorce litigation in Japan.

The revised guidelines, based on changes to the tax system and other factors, were the first in 16 years.

The value of monthly child support may increase by around 10,000 to 20,000 yen depending on the income levels of the parents according to the new standards, published by the Legal Research and Training Institute of Japan Court.

The guidelines categorize children into two groups – those up to 14 and those 15 or older – and indicate the recommended amount of child support based on the number of children and their parents’ income.

The revised guidelines, for example, require a non-custodial parent with an annual income of 5 million yen to pay between 40,000 and 60,000 yen per month to a parent who is raising a 14-year-old child and earning 2 million yen per month. year. This range of monthly child support payments is higher than the 20,000 to 40,000 seen in the old guidelines.

The payment range is unchanged at 20,000 to 40,000 per month for a non-custodial parent earning 4 million per year.

The institute has asked four judges from the Tokyo and Osaka family courts to review the guidelines, which aim to make it easier to calculate child support.

The publication of the revised guidelines is not intended to change the value of child support in cases that have already been decided, the institute said.

The previous guidelines were published in April 2003 in a legal magazine by a voluntary group of judges.

The Japanese Federation of Bar Associations criticized the old guidelines, saying the recommended amount of child support was too low because it did not match even the lowest standard of living.

According to a survey by the Ministry of Social Affairs in fiscal year 2016, child support received by a single mother averaged around 43,000 per month. Although some 42 percent of divorced parents agreed to pay child support when they separated, payments were not made in many cases, according to the survey.

In the survey, only 24 percent of divorced parents said they were currently receiving child support.

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